Farm + Food Lab Tour Recap and Recipe

July 18th, 2013 by Stacey Blaschke

Year Round Gardening in Southern CaliforniaOn  the sunny morning of July 10th thirty one attendees, both kids and adults, enjoyed an informative tour around the  Irvine Great Park’s Farm + Food Lab.

Teena Spindler, the founding gardener of the Farm + Food Lab and a veteran home gardener, was our excellent guide through the lab. She shared the history of the gardens and answered all kinds of questions ranging from how to prune backyard fruit trees to the secrets of growing all the ingredients for a pizza. The Farm + Food Lab is divided into various garden beds and is a hands on exhibit. There are twelve themed gardens ranging from a Pizza Garden, to a Fruit Salad Garden, to a Sensory Garden where all the plants are meant to be touched and smelled.

Farm + Food Lab: Petting a henThere are also two composting demonstration areas, a chicken coop complete with hens and one rooster named “Rockstar”, a square foot garden and a hay bale garden. It is definitely a place to be experienced by both adults and children and the lab has an activities booklet available for kids to explore the gardens more thoroughly while completing a scavenger hunt.

At the end of the tour, I noticed there is a recipe for Tomato Salsa and by chance it is Teena’s winning salsa contest recipe. Here it is for you at home to recreate as a perfect summer dish especially if you have an abundance of home grown tomatoes.

Teena’s Colorful Tomato Salsa

4 red tomatoes
2 yellow, orange or purple tomatoes
Assorted colored peppers, roasted (choose hot or mild depending on your taste)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 small purple onion, diced
1 small white or yellow onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste

Roast peppers on backing sheet in 400 degree oven until skins begin to char. Cool, then chop. Grate 2 red tomatoes by cutting in half then grate using large holes box grater, discard peel. Dice remaining tomatoes. Combine all ingredients in serving bowl, salt and pepper to taste. Makes about 1 quart of salsa, depending on size of tomatoes.

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